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NQTs what did/do you want from a mentor?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by gemmamarie08, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. gemmamarie08

    gemmamarie08 New commenter

    Hi everyone :)

    From September, I will be mentoring an NQT in my faculty. I am an experienced teacher and I have knowledge of the standards/paperwork etc (as you would expect) plus I also have experience of my own NQT year (support was a bit mixed in all honesty).

    Anyhow, what I would like to hear from an current NQTs or those who will be NQTs in September is, what do you really want/value from your mentor? Anything at all that has made you feel supported/welcome/happy in your schools?

    I really want to make sure that my NQT has the best possible experience and due to the virus,I'm concious they may be more nervous than normal because of the big gap between finishing the course and starting the NQT year.

    All ideas welcome!:)
  2. gemmamarie08

    gemmamarie08 New commenter

    Shiny, thank you for that. I'm so sorry you have had such poor support :( I can never understand what possesses schools to take on NQTs and then not support them.

    When I have had trainees, I've made sure I check in with them each day -.just to say 'how's it going/everything ok?' So I will keep doing that.

    I hope you have a successful third term -are you staying in the same school?
  3. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Must meet every week with protected time. My NQTs wanted 1 hour to begin with, later dropping to 30min. Must speak daily.
    Be ahead of things: careful briefing on upcoming events and tasks ( reports, parent meetings....)
    Be initially protective if NQT makes mistakes.
    Ensure NQT gets to observe other teachers
    Ensure you do some informal observation with a view to coaching rather than assessment.
    Keep notes/minutes.
    Discuss the Standards with the NQT regularly and work with them to establish where they are being met, or what needs to be done.
    Hope this helps, although I reckon it's all common sense.
    Kartoshka likes this.
  4. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I had a wonderful mentor when I was an NQT.

    NQTs tend to be very excited (and nervous) about their first job, and I imagine especially so this year, as they've been out of the classroom for so long. All other teachers are looking forward to not thinking about school for a bit during the holiday, whereas NQTs are usually raring to go and keen to prepare what they can for September. My mentor met with me in July just to touch base and tell me a bit about the school (practical stuff like how the school day looks, topics and schemes of work the school uses, whole school behaviour system, etc); she also gave me some school policies and NQT paperwork to look over. It was great to have some information and know a bit more what to expect.

    During the year itself, one thing that particularly stands out is the time she came and taught my class while I observed. You can learn a lot from observing other teachers, but watching another teacher teach my class was invaluable (I had a tricky class and picked up a few pointers on how to deal with child A's specific behaviour, an alternative strategy for handling child B, etc). Might not be relevant if your NQT is doing fine - you don't want to give the impression his/her way isn't good enough - but can be helpful for an NQT who is struggling a bit.
  5. gemmamarie08

    gemmamarie08 New commenter

    Shiny although it's a shame you ended up resigning due to lack of support, I think you are right.

    Even if you do some supply for a bit, it will give you a breather and allow you to find a supportive school. There are lots of schools out there that do support their NQTs.

    Best of luck!
  6. hazellia

    hazellia New commenter

    Give lots of positive feedback.
  7. gemmamarie08

    gemmamarie08 New commenter

    Thank you hazellia :)

    I'm going to really focus on positive feedback - particularly in the first term which is going to be even tougher due to the coronavirus situation.
  8. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Firstly thank you for being so supportive. I think your NQT is lucky to have you. Honestly the thing that would have helped me most (probably a big ask) but being given full planned lessons.
    One of the places I did my training had a policy that everyone used the same lessons. This meant if I was teaching converting fractions to decimals there was a PowerPoint ready to go (We didn't have worksheets). So I could look through it and adapt it if I had time change it up loads but more importantly if I didn't have time I had something to teach. What I never understood in the other schools I worked in is that someone had class 7A last year so they must of had lessons, where are they now? A central drive that has poorly labeled lessons is not helpful.
    Second thing clear mark schemes to standard tests/homework. I was told to use a set of tests that didn't match up with the SOW and didn't have any Mark scheme.

    Don't let people take advantage of them.
  9. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Just pop in every now and then to check on your nqt, make sure they're going home at a reasonable time. Make sure your feedback is clear, how can the nqt improve?

    Your NQT shouldn't have to ask you for support all the time, be proactive in providing it.

    You sound like you'll be a great mentor and we certainly need more people like you in teaching.
  10. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    I think you need to think the environment of your first meeting out carefully. Is this your terribly official office with all sorts of things indicating your seniority (nothing wrong with that in general) that makes your newly-arrived NQT feel nervous and overwhelmed? Is it somewhere less formal? Is it his/her classroom? In better times, is it a cafe or tearoom or the pub? Once you have made human contact you can deal with the more formal stuff.
  11. donnamacca79

    donnamacca79 New commenter

    I had a brilliant mentor. I started in January in a class who were unsettled due to supply, mixed years and many, many behavioral issues. She checked in with me before I started, showed me where everything was on the computer systems. She checked in with me and was clear I come and see her. I observed her teaching her class and mine. Arranged for the English lead to teach my class. It was a great experience. The class settled and started achieving. Be there be interested. You sound like you will be a great mentor x
  12. hazellia

    hazellia New commenter

    Be there. Not all the time, but show you haven't forgotten your NQT.

    I often thought 'where is my mentor?' He never made the time to pop his head round the door to say hello, and to ask how things were going. I had to constantly chase to have meetings, get paperwork done, and be given my NQT time. It made me feel like nobody was interested and that I was having to fight to get what an NQT should get, rather than that the school wanted me there - so I am not staying next year.

    When you give feedback, start and end with the good, and put the areas for development sandwiched in the middle. My mentor often started with the negative, and I would have to drag it out of him that it was a really good lesson. When giving areas for development, give specific suggestions about how they could be achieved.

    If an NQT has a target, don't leave them alone until the end of term. Provide them with opportunities to shadow other teachers and give specific pointers to help them achieve the target. Don't forget your NQT's targets - they will want to achieve it, but having a mentor who knows what the target is goes a long way to showing you are interested.

    Say 'well done'. I rarely got that, not even on passing and finishing the year.
  13. gemmamarie08

    gemmamarie08 New commenter

    Thank you for all of the additional replies since my last post - I have only just managed to come back to this thread:)

    I have given him access to all of the shared lessons -our shared file is well organised because I'm really keen on that so that should help him.

    He has taken up my offer of being able to drop me an email over Summer with any queries/concerns which I'm glad about.

    Really good point about the location of the first meeting! I still feel on edge going into senior leaders offices even though I have no need to so I will find somewhere informal to meet, particularly at first.

    In a lot of posts people have highlighted the importance of 'informal contact/popping in' so I will make sure I check in with him regularly.

    Luckily, the person who oversees induction in our school is amazing and really on top of the paperwork requirements so she sends timely reminders about what needs doing when and gives us a printed calendar:D

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